Kazakhstan starts mass vaccination campaign on February 1

Kazakhstan will start mass COVID-19 vaccination in the beginning of next month. Two million citizens will be vaccinated in the first phase. Overall, the country plans to vaccinate nearly six million people until the end of 2021. Health workers will be immunized first, then teachers, students and patients with chronic diseases. Today, government discussed the measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin gave a number of instructions to offices in charge of preparations for the mass vaccination campaign.

“Kazakh Health Ministry, together with the local administrations, should ensure readiness of medical organizations for mass vaccination of the population from February 1. All vaccination stations should have the necessary equipment to store the vaccine. Health workers need to undergo training. I instruct within one week to ensure readiness of vaccination points and continuous availability of the vaccine,” said Askar Mamin, Kazakh Prime Minister.

Kazakh Health Minister Alexey Tsoy said that the epidemiological situation in the country is alarming. Two regions are currently in a moderate-risk ‘yellow’ zone for COVID-19 spread. Today, North Kazakhstan region entered the high-risk ‘red’ zone and joined Nur-Sultan, as well as Pavlodar, Akmola, Kostanai, Atyrau regions. Tsoy also announced a number of possible scenarios for coronavirus spread at a government meeting.

 “COVID-19 cases are forecasted to reach a peak in the country at the end of March of this year. Under an optimistic scenario, the registration of new positive cases of infection can reach up to 3,000 per day. Maximum hospital bed occupancy can reach 24,000. However, no strict quarantine measures are planned to be imposed in this case. Under realistic and pessimistic scenarios, the number of daily cases of coronavirus in the country can reach 6,000 and 9,000, respectively. Hospital bed occupancy will reach up to 45,000. That is, it will not exceed 52,000 hospital beds that are available for COVID-19 patients, but it will require the introduction of strict quarantine measures to avoid overloading the healthcare system and to ensure the quality of medical care,” said Alexey Tsoy, Kazakh Health Minister.

According to Kazakh government, the domestic COVID-19 vaccine is undergoing the phase three clinical trials and its preliminary effectiveness is estimated at 96 percent. At the same time, the quality of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is being tested. In addition, a biopharmaceutical plant for vaccine production with the GMP standard is under construction.